Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blues sign Roy to one-year contract

Contract will pay center $4 million, contingent on passing physical

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues missed out on their targets for a playmaking center when the National Hockey League free agency period opened Friday.

Saturday was a new day, and it brought a new target.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, after missing out on Stephen Weiss and Valtteri Filppula Friday, was able to land a center with scoring and playmaking ability when the Blues agreed in principle on a one-year contract with Derek Roy, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks. Roy will sign pending a physical and will make $4 million.

(Getty Images)
Derek Roy agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with the
Blues on Saturday.
Once Roy, 30, passes his physical -- he had shoulder surgery in 2012 and a left tendon injury in his left quadriceps in 2011 -- he will become one of the Blues' top two centers on a roster in need of scoring. Roy also missed seven games due to injury this past season.

"Coming to a young, skillful team like this with a ton of grit, (it) was right in my wheelhouse," Roy said. "I want to win a Stanley Cup and I thought this team was on the verge of becoming a great contending team."

Roy is a nine-year veteran of the NHL, with most of his production coming in eight years playing with the Buffalo Sabres. He split last season with Dallas and the Canucks, where Roy tallied seven goals and 28 points in 42 games.

Roy, who comes in a bit undersized at 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds, has 168 goals and 455 points in 591 career games. His best season came with the Sabres in 2007-08 when he had career highs in goals (32), assists (49) and points (81).

The Blues' signing of Roy is a low-risk move and one that could benefit both sides should the centerman have a solid season. he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2014.

"(Roy) is a play-making centerman and he's just 30 years old," Armstrong said. "I think it's a great opportunity for Derek to re-establish himself."

(St. Louis Blues photo)
Derek Roy (middle) battles for a puck last season while playing for Dallas
against the Blues' Patrik Berglund (21) and Barret Jackman (right).
Roy will immediately vault himself into the top of the heap as far as Blues center icemen go. He goes there with David Backes, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, Chris Porter and newly signed centers Maxim Lapierre as well as Keith Aucoin.

But there's been some talk that coach Ken Hitchcock is exploring putting Backes back at his natural position on the wing and possibly using Berglund on the left wing. But that's yet to be determined and will play itself out in training camp.

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